On July 08 OXFAM organized the first Food Security Regional Working Group meeting at Armavir marzpetaran within the framework of “Improving Regional Food Security in South Caucasus through National Strategies and Smallholder Production” regional four-year (2013-2017) program in Armenia.

The meeting participants were Armavir Agriculture and Ecology Department, representatives of Armavir Regional Agricultural Support Center”, representative of ACBA Credit Agricole Bank,  chairmen of agricultural consumer cooperatives of Armavir region, representatives of food processing factories, village mayors and farmers.

Head of Agriculture and Ecology Department Arthur Ayvazyan welcomed the participants, present the goal of Food security program staff and told some agricultural problems of the Armavir region. According to Mr. Ayvazyan one of the most challenging problems is lack of irrigation and the irrigation water tariffs.

Vadim Uzunyan, Food Security project manager presented to the participants the aim of the meeting, provided background information on food security project in Armenia and the objectives of the meeting.

Alexey Petrosyan, Food Security project officer presented Food Security project implemented by Oxfam in Armenia and described goals and objectives of the project mentioned the process of creating regional working groups which will help to represent problems of Armenian regions/provinces and try to give the solution for them at national level.

Following the presentation of the project expert Anastas Aghazaryan presented the state of food security in Armenia, the evolution of problems in food security, main components and issues. He pointed out several challenges such as lack of mechanisms for effective agricultural production, processing, low price for food sourcing, irrigation problems etc.

After the discussions it became clear, that the irrigation system is very old and causes waste of water. In addition there is a need to built new reservoirs. The fee for irrigation is very high. It must be reduced by half. There are processing factories in region but they source food at very low price and it covers only the prime cost. Other problems are the lack of agricultural equipments, they are very old and there are no spare parts. New equipments are expensive. Seeds and pesticides are inefficient. Big problem is lack of agricultural insurance because every year climate related risks destroyed approximate 60-80% of harvest.

At the end of the meeting participants discussed the composition of the regional working group which involved Armavir “Agricultural Support Regional Center”, representatives of Armavir government, agricultural cooperatives and village mayors.

The main goal of the working group is to identify issues related to food security in the region, to reveal expectations of the region, communities and farmers from agricultural and food security strategies. Activities of the working group will enable to discuss issues identified at regional and local levels through the appropriate structures and platforms at national level and also to promote to the participatory process of the strategy development and implementation.